I keep forgetting to faux brag about kickball. You see, I still play the game with some former colleagues (adult kickball happens in a lot of communities, apparently), and we’re 2-0. Last game, I “batted” leadoff, went 3 for 3, scoring two runs and driving in another. That’s what you want in a leadoff hitter. Eat your heart out, David DeJesus.
- Alfonso Soriano, who remains homerless and is hitting just .250/.283/.304, has dropped down a bat size. Manager Dale Sveum, who joked that Soriano was swinging a “big ol’ log,” finally convinced Soriano to at least take an ounce off his bat, which is a start. Good news, right? Well, he made the switch two weeks ago, and he’s hitting an improved (but still yawn-inducing) .275/.341/.400 over that stretch. The coaching staff would like to see Soriano’s bat shrink even more.
- The decision to pull Jeff Samardzija after five innings yesterday wasn’t a particularly tough one for Dale Sveum. “He was at his 90 pitches,” Sveum said. “He pitched well numbers-wise, but the ball was up. You could tell it wasn’t coming out of his hand like it can. Time to pinch hit, time to take a shot. The bullpen was rested.” Fine with me. The Cubs have to continue to be careful with Samardzija, as he adjusts to starting. And he, too, will have to continue to adjust – he could have been a bit more economical with his pitches yesterday, and might have been able to squeeze out another inning in those 90 pitches.
- Reliever Shawn Camp, whom the Cubs picked up for nothing at the end of Spring Training, has been a pleasant surprise in the bullpen. And he says he could be even better with more use. “I’m a sinkerball pitcher and I’m not like a power pitcher,” Camp said. “I don’t want to say my arm never gets tired. But I feel sometimes, when you’re a sinkerball pitcher, the more tired and fatigued you get, the less effort you put into pitches and your sinker gets a little better at times.” Given that Camp has a 3.50 ERA in his 18 innings of work, more use is fine with me.
- Rick Telander offers a nice write-up on the uniqueness of Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville, and what needs to happen going forward.
- The Cubs have high hopes for Matt Szczur, but John Sickels notes that the center field prospect’s performance at High A between last year and this year isn’t going to cut it.
- The MLBullets at BCB feature a discussion of Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos’s season-ending ACL injury. I know where everyone’s head goes immediately: can the Cubs trade them Geovany Soto? Maybe. I always feel a bit icky immediately going to trade possibilities when a young guy suffers a serious injury (especially after an offseason in which the kid was kidnapped). But, on the substance, I’m not sure what the Nats would think. A lot of Soto’s value comes from the fact that he’s under contract through next season, which might not be of all that much value to the Nats, who likely believe Ramos will be back (though, how healthy and effective?). The Nats are also calling up their best catching prospect, a 23-year-old named Sandy Leon, to help shoulder the load now. It’s possible that they’d like to give him a chance to shine.